Senate Democrats' effort to pass climate or energy legislation before the August recess has spurred a flurry of advertising as companies and their lobbying groups work to sway votes.
Diverse interests, from the trade group for oil and natural gas to an alliance of renewable power interests, pumped money into television and newspaper ads. The influence efforts accelerated after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would bring a bill to the floor. More ads are planned for next two weeks, and many are running across the country. One targets Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and sponsor of one of the bills that could reach the floor.
"We see this happen on most major pieces of legislation," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a watchdog group. "This type of AstroTurf lobbying is very effective."
Ever since the ads in the 1990s featuring "Harry and Louise" helped derail health care reform, Holman said, "companies have realized they can wield as much, if not more, influence on Congress" through advertising than they can through lobbying.
Groups funding the ads hear the legislative clock ticking.
"We really want to drive the message home to Congress that if they're going to be submitting a bill, then that bill should create supports for the alternative energy sector," said Stephanie Dreyer, spokeswoman for Growth Energy, a group that represents ethanol interests and is part of a coalition sponsoring a new ad.
"This is our time, if we're going to have a chance of impacting energy legislation," Dreyer said. "This is our week."
This week brought a new ad from a coalition that includes Growth Energy. Others in that alliance are American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Alliance to Save Energy, Covanta Energy, National Hydropower Association and Business Council for Sustainable Energy. AWEA took the lead, asking others to contribute financially, others in the alliance said. AWEA declined to make anyone available to talk about the ad campaign.
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Comment: Next to the banker bailout and the fascist health-care debacle, this will be the greatest theft in US history by the private sector and special interests groups. It's sad that most American's don't realize that the only groups that will benefit from this fraud are oil and energy companies and the leftist environmental groups. The cost associated with this will go well above the cost the health care sector and we'll sink further into a depression when American's won't have anything to spend because the taxes we'll incur will be so high discretionary items won;'t be bought. furthermore the remaining industrial jobs will dry and move because of the added energy costs.
Without any accountability our Senate is sending us down the road of serfdom. However if the 17th Amendment was repealed we most certainly would not be faced with the illict legislation we have witnessed in the last few years, which has been conducted through the backroom collusion of the two main parties.
It's time we got the checks and balances put back into our government. It's time folks, if not, it's time to lower the flag my friends.